Potts Valley Branch Question

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Tue Oct 10 15:47:04 EDT 2017


You are probably aware of the well-annotated, 10-page article on the 
Potts Valley branch in Vol. 18, No. 4 issue of /The Arrow/. The article 
states that the charter for the Virginia and Potts Creek RR portion of 
the line extended from MP 34.18 to end of track at MP 38.33.  Your ETT 
shows the Paint Bank MP to be 38.2. The short mileage difference between 
Paint Bank and the end of track is consistent with my understanding that 
the only track beyond the station was the wye track.  Incidentally, the 
cited article has a couple of paragraphs with the author's description 
of the relation of today's highway to the former branch road bed.

Gordon Hamilton

On 10/10/2017 12:58 PM, NW Mailing List wrote:
> QUESTION:  The N&W held charter rights to extend (what became) the 
> Potts Valley Branch all the way to Potts Creek, Va,  five or so miles 
> north of Paint Bank, Va.  Did they ever exercise this privilege, and 
> actually build to Potts Creek ?
> I have just spent two days with Google Earth, mapping and scaling off 
> distances given in Radford Division T.T. No. 35,  dated April 20, 
> 1930.  (Google Earth is a powerful tool, and enables one to scale off 
> and measure distances on the satellite imagery to tenths of a foot.)  
> I was looking for places which no longer appear on maps, e.g. Crafts, 
> Foley and Petit listed in the T.T. (none of which had sidings in 1930.)
> One thing for which I was looking was the highest elevation on the 
> Branch, and I found it to be about a mile south (Time Table "east") of 
> Kire, Va., at 2700 feet.  This was the watershed between the Big Stony 
> Creek which flowed southward to New River, and the Potts Creek which 
> flowed northward to the James River at Covington.
> I was unable to locate Petit and Foley with any reasonable accuracy.  
> The T.T. gives a distance of 7.5 miles between Ray Siding and Kire, 
> which are known points.  (Ray Siding at 15.6 miles south of Paint 
> Bank, Petit at 19.2,  Foley at 21.9, and Kire at 23.1.)  The Time 
> Table overstates the distance between Ray Siding and Kire by better 
> than a mile, so measuring along the right-of-way  from either known 
> point (southward from Ray Siding, and northward from Kire) gave 
> conflicting locations for Petit and Foley.  And there is  virtually no 
> possibility that the present highway in the area uses an alignment 
> different from the railroad's alignment.   The T.T. is simply wrong... 
> it is not that far from Ray's Switch to Kire.  Only an examination of 
> the Valuation Maps would resolve the issue.
> As someone who spent 20 years as "keeper of the Time Table" for 
> one-forth of a certain major Eastern railroad (about 3,000  miles of 
> it,) I am well aware of the subjectivities and vagueries of Time Table 
> mileages.  First of all, they are (usually) given to only one decimal 
> place, which introduces a potential measuring error of 1/10th of a 
> mile,  520 feet.  Second, almost never were they subjected to scrutiny 
> or the attempt to correct them... whatever had been printed in the 
> T.T.  forever was just perpetuated in following Time Tables.   Third, 
> in the absence of a depot or station name sign, mileages were usually 
> stated by referring to the first switch of the passing siding, 
> calculating from MP 0.0 on a branch, and those things often changed, 
> or even went away entirely, and I am unaware of the N&W's practice of 
> assigning T.T. mileages with respect to siding switches.
> Here is a little story to show you how such things go...  Some years 
> ago I was involved in a six month project to install a big 
> interlocking where three main lines and one branch line came 
> together.  One problem was that the new interlocking was over a mile 
> long.  What mile post + decimal would I use to show it in the T.T. ?  
>  Some investigation and conversations with the oldest heads in the 
> System Signal Department Office (guys who had been around forever and 
> knew everything) revealed that the protocol had always been (but 
> unknown to me) to use the location of the "instrument house" as the 
> decimal location for an interlocking.  But this new, big interlocking 
> was over a mile long and had THREE "instrument houses," with express 
> cable extending between them, and they were not close together.  We 
> finally decided the right thing to do was to base the Time Table 
> mileage on the location of the PRINCIPAL "instrument house," that is, 
> the one with the most relays in it.  And that is what we did, and the 
> Time Table mileage I used for that interlocking two decades ago still 
> stand in the present N.S. Time Table for that territory, although I am 
> sure no one left today understands why that number was chosen !
> The USGS Topo maps have been of little help in my investigations, as 
> maps were only published for this area in 1923 and 1945 (after the 
> branch was abandoned.) The 1923 topo does not show the Potts Valley 
> Branch extending north of the wye at Paint Bank depot.  And the 1945 
> topo does not indicate abandoned railroad grades.
> Your reward for having read through all the above blathering is the 
> attached PDF, which shows the Potts Valley Branch  station pages from 
> the 1930 T.T.
> -- abram burnett
> ===========================================
>                   Sent to You from my Telegraph Key
> Successor to the MAGNETIC TELEGRAPH LINE of 1844
> ===========================================
> Moderator:
> http://www.nwhs.org/mailinglist/2017/20171010.N&W_Radford%20Div_TT%20No%2035_4-20-1930_Narrows%20&%20Potts%20Valley%20Branches%20+%20Cover.pdf
> ________________________________________
> NW-Mailing-List at nwhs.org
> To change your subscription go to
> http://list.nwhs.org/mailman/options/nw-mailing-list
> Browse the NW-Mailing-List archives at
> http://list.nwhs.org/pipermail/nw-mailing-list/

This email has been checked for viruses by Avast antivirus software.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <https://pairlist6.pair.net/pipermail/nw-mailing-list/attachments/20171010/a068640f/attachment-0001.html>

More information about the NW-Mailing-List mailing list